The Internet is rapidly changing the ways we communicate information around the globe today. The desire to provide Internet-based services to anyone, anywhere, anytime has brought satellite communications to the forefront to become an integral part of the Internet. In spite of the distances involved, satellite links are proving to be capable of providing Internet services based on Internet protocol (TCP/IP) stack. This development has led to the question particularly at NASA; can satellites and other space platforms become an Internet-node in space? This will allow the direct transfer of information directly from space to the users on Earth and even be able to control the spacecraft and its instruments. NASA even wants to extend the near earth space Internet to deep space applications where scientists and the public here on Earth may view space exploration in real time via the Internet. NASA's future solar system exploration will involve intensive in situ investigations of planets, moons, asteroids, and comets. While past missions typically involved a single fly-by or orbiting science spacecraft, future missions will begin to use fleets of small, highly intelligent robotic vehicles to carry out collaborative investigations. The resulting multi-spacecraft topologies will effectively create a wide area network spanning the solar system. However, this will require significant development in Internet technologies for space use. This paper provides the status'of the Internet for near earth applications and the potential extension of the Internet for use in deep space planetary exploration. The paper will discuss the overall challenges of implementing the space Internet and how the space Internet will integrate into the complex terrestrial systems those forms the Internet of today in a hybrid set of networks. Internet. We envision extending to the deep space environment such Internet concepts as a well-designed layered architecture. This effort will require an ability to develop and infuse new physical layer technology to increase network bandwidth at very low-bit error rates. In addition, we identify network technologies such as routers and switches needed to maintain standard application layer interfaces, while providing low-cost, efficient, modular networking solutions. We will describe the overall architectural approach to extending the concept of the Internet to space and highlight the important technological challenges and initiatives that will make it a reality.